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He may be entertaining, he may be clever, but Falstaff is morally repulsive and Hal should be having nothing to do with him. Discuss this comment fully with relation to Henry IV part one

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"He may be entertaining, he may be clever, but Falstaff is morally repulsive and Hal should be having nothing to do with him." Discuss this comment fully with relation to Henry IV part one Throughout Henry IV part 1 Falstaff introduces and sustains most, if not all of the comic value of this play. Though primarily a humorous figure, Falstaff still exemplifies a kind of depth common to Shakespeare's complicated comedy. However, how is it, when his actions would repulse many in both a modern and medieval context, we find ourselves so attracted to him. This is perhaps a na�ve and unanswerable question; most of the audience however, are so compelled to this '...huge hill of flesh' (2.4.202) that they completely ignore the abhorrence of his banter. It is in fact believed that the Queen of England requested the making of 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' which is a Shakespearian comedy that revolves around the character of Falstaff. Whether this is true or not, it still shows how this lovable oaf seems to escape trouble through his expressions. It illustrates his immeasurable popularity with people of all ages and of all fields to the extent that a man may escape inexorable situations. Whether any of this should actually affect his relationship with the prince is a different story. Falstaff and Hal have an exceptionally strong relationship from the start of the play and it is somewhat obvious that Falstaff is Hal's entertainer. ...read more.


This offence is particularly momentous because Hal calls him a 'misleader of youth'. If Hal is referring to himself as 'youth' then he is agreeing that Falstaff is doing him no good and that he would be better off without him. These frequent offences are happening all the time and are not specifically concentrated to a certain scene or section. Hal is therefore not having an unsystematic surge of loathe towards Falstaff but is in fact showing the audience how he regularly acts and possibly how he truly feels. If Falstaff is failing to satisfy Hal's pleasure then Hal has no advantage of being or even knowing Falstaff. Despite all accusations, Falstaff and Hal have a powerful relationship to the extent that Falstaff could replace the King in the role of Hal's Father. Act 2 scene 4 in particular shows this side to their friendship, it shows them acting as father and son yet these two roles do appear to fit them well. Hal tells Falstaff to '...stand for my father and examine me upon the particulars/of my life' (2.4.310-311), thus demonstrating Hal's attitude and possibly his requirements. This has established Hal's need for Falstaff; this is also true the other way round. Falstaff too has a desperate need for Hal, a need for someone he can take care of and love, a need for a son. ...read more.


It has shown Falstaff as a thief and literally stealing away Hal's honour. This strengthens the argument against Hal's relationship with Falstaff, that perhaps Falstaff is only using Hal for his own benefit. Falstaff frequently speaks about honour and it is made very possible and almost inevitable that Falstaff is in search for more honour, this source could indeed be Hal, Falstaff's supposed friend. It is acknowledged that Falstaff is Hal's entertainer as well as his friend. They bond together incredibly well all through the play yet to the extent that their affiliation could deceive individuals to be as far as father and son. However, despite this physically and mentally powerful relationship, Hal is frequently speaking of Falstaff's negative side and showing his observations of how Falstaff has a dull and declining outlook. Falstaff however, is telling Hal of his bountiful future and is attempting to maintain their relationship, quite divergent to Hal. This could be for Falstaff's benefit to both stay close to people of a high importance or as a supply of honour. Throughout most of the play it is made rather oblivious that Hal is trying to eschew Falstaff from his presence, yet at the end the roles seem to reverse; Falstaff betrays Hal but Hal maintains the relationship. Therefore Hal should not let Falstaff's outrageous banter affect their relationship because they are strongly connected and deep down inside, they both want to maintain their relationship with one another despite Hal having other things to attend to. ...read more.

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